Sunday, September 18, 2016

Prayer points

One of the odd parts of any evangelical home group is the gathering (sharing?) of 'prayer points' prior to praying about (some...most) of them. It has liturgical dimensions; but its the pop-liturgy of the business meeting. There, instead of 'prayer points' we have 'action items'. The latter has been much lampooned. Oh that the former were as well.

My recent experience of this pop-liturgy is scary, and I've felt judged, criticised, embarrassed and discouraged. Hardly any of the outcomes  Paul would have thought could come from praying together in love, support and encouragement.

I divulged some matters that were pressing on may family and I: one pray-er thought that our Father in heaven should help us to 'repent'. Thanks Francine: so you know our internal state, our circumstances and history? At this point I wished I was given to profanity.

More recently, on Frost's enjoining us to eat with others thrice a week, and I protested that I could barely do thrice a year, one of the group members decided it was her turn to cross examine me, my family and suggest 'solutions' to what she saw as the problem.

Neither of these women seemed to think that they should believe and trust my requests or statements, but dive in and undo them according to their shallow, prejudiced and misjudged insight.

This is not what group pray should be: people talk about what they want prayed and expect to be given the benefit of the doubt, not a detailed haughty inquisition pre-pray or in-prayer. Rubbish. Why would I join a home group if this is the treatment?

The first rule of Christian interaction: be kind.

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